It Starts With Us

Poet: Kristopher James-Wilcox of Ball State University

Popping potato chip pain pills

To numb my feelings and aches.

My limestone head won’t listen to reason

My limestone head keeps saying I can quit

Any day -now- I’m just trying to stupefy

My steels guts and lion’s pride, every time

I hear someone puke out of their mouth,

“Well what about black on black crime?”

Why does no one ever bring up white on white

crime? Why is all lives matter always a rebuttal

but never an action to prove that ALL lives

truly matter? Why is it okay for someone to burn

a flag and wear the flag of traitors, and that’s freedom,

but if I choose to sit down because I don’t feel so free

I’m the problem?

I shouldn’t have to do weightless shoulder shrugs

every time I see a cop car. I shouldn’t have to

worry about being in a store too long, in fear

the owner may think I’m casing the joint. I should

be able to say the words, “I’m proud to be an American,”

and not hesitate because of the things I have faced

and seen in my lifetime. I shouldn’t be 21-years-old

and feel hopeless.

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